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Jackson Center To Host Electoral College Webinar Wednesday

Ned Foley

The Jackson Center will host Edward B. Foley of The Ohio State University Moritz College of Law for a free webinar on the Electoral College at 4 p.m. Wednesday.

Foley holds the Ebersold Chair in Constitutional Law at The Ohio State University, where he also directs its election law program. His new book, Presidential Elections and Majority Rule (Oxford University Press, 2020), excavates the long-forgotten philosophical premises of how the Electoral College is supposed to work, as revised by the Twelfth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, and then uses this historical analysis to provide a feasible basis for reform of state laws that would enable the Electoral College to operate according to majority-rule objectives it was designed to achieve.

“We’re thrilled to welcome Professor Foley, a renowned expert in the field, to the Jackson Center virtually to educate the public on the complicated processes of the Electoral College,” said Kristan McMahon, Jackson Center president. “Understanding how the system works is vital, especially during an election year.”

Jackson biographer John Q. Barrett, professor of law at St. John’s University and the Jackson Center’s Elizabeth S. Lenna Fellow and board member, will begin the webinar with an overview of Justice Robert H. Jackson’s dissenting opinion in the U.S. Supreme Court’s 1952 Ray v. Blair decision. In that case, the Supreme Court affirmed the constitutionality of state political parties requiring their presidential electors to pledge to vote for party nominees. Jackson, in his dissent, wrote against the wisdom of the U.S. Constitution employing the Electoral College, rather than direct voting by the people, to choose presidents and vice presidents.

The heart of the program will be Foley in conversation with McMahon. He will explain how the Electoral College works today, its flaws, and proposed reforms to improve or discard it.

The audience will have the opportunity to ask questions. The webinar will be recorded and available after it occurs on the Jackson Center website and social media channels.

Pre-registration is required for this free webinar at www.roberthjackson.org/event/electoral-college-webinar.

The program is made possible by Jackson Center donors.

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